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Petition launched to keep stand-alone poison helpline


Associate Health Spokesperson

MP for Dunedin North
Petition launched to keep stand-alone poison helpline

Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson David Clark has today launched a petition to keep the national poison centre crisis line separate from a proposed catch-all tele-health service.

The Government is looking to merge Poisonline, Healthline, Quitline, public immunisation advice, a depression initiative, plus gambling, drug and alcohol support services into a one-stop national phone service.

“Having a poison crisis line answered by generic 0800 health service operators is against world best practice and could cost lives.

“No one is against making savings when there is merit in doing so, but it makes no sense when that comes at a cost to the quality of service.

“The current stand-alone service, which receives over half of its $2.8 million funding from Otago University, has been operating successfully for 50 years.

“It has a world class data base that is updated constantly and regularly accessed by other countries’ poisons centres.

“When someone’s life is at stake, seconds are critical – they can be the difference between life and death.

“This process has been less than transparent.

“If Tony Ryall knows something that other countries don’t about best practice in cases like this, then he should let New Zealanders know.”

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